Five Latina poets that should be on your radar
5 Latina poets and authors that are not afraid to own their identities.
Yesika Salgado @yesikastar
Yesika Salgado is a Los Angeles-based Salvadoran poet and author who writes about family, culture and body positivity. She was a National Poetry Slam finalist in 2017 and 2018, and her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Vibe Magazine, NPR and more.
Salgado has written three Amazon best-selling books: Corazón, Tesoro, and Hermosa. In Corazón, she writes about the constant hunger for love that humans possess. It is a tribute to how heartache destroys us, but how we always come back to wholeness.
“Mi corazón, cielito lindo, tesoro mío, mi amor, mi vida, mi alma. — how beautiful it is to be loved in Spanish.”
In Hermosa, Salgado writes about the many definitions of home, with an emphasis on the path towards becoming one’s own home. She tells the story of first experiences, survival, mourning, healing, and never-ending growth.
“We did not work out. That’s fine. The years will take care of the ache. What we learned of each other is still alive, go be happy. Come tell me about it someday.”
Ariana Brown @arianathepoet
Ariana Brown is a poet, performer and workshop facilitator who tours college campuses, poetry slams and local organizations to speak about Blackness in a Mexican-American context, spirituality, womanhood and healing.
In February of last year, Brown released her debut poetry EP, Let Us Be Enough, on BandCamp, featuring her popular piece “Cumbia.”
“I think I’ve been to three quinceañeras in my life, one Mexican wedding, countless parties at my tía’s house, chapel of red cups and swaying blood. My friend asks if I know how to Cumbia and I remember the shuffled feet, sudden turns, bodies dripping slow as smoke onto shoulders, drinking in memories of better days, linked kneecaps holding up what they’ve got left to give to the music.”
Cheyenne Raine Cisneros @teawithraine
Cheyenne Raine Cisneros is a Mexican-American poet and author residing in San Antonio, Texas. Cisneros has published four poetry books: Charcoal Thunderstorms, Maroon Daydreams, Lemon Acuarelas and Lavender Petals and a Wild Heart. She is also the co-owner of Raine Publishing.
Cisneros recently became a mother to her son Cruz, and frequently writes short poems about him like this one:
“I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that you’re here in my arms, with eyes as brown as the roots of the mountains you have yet to visit and climb. You are here, with a little breath I listen to at night, when you doze off against my chest.”
Melissa Lozada-Oliva @ellomelissa
Melissa Lozado-Oliva is a Guatemalan-Colombian spoken-word poet and educator living in New York. She was a 2015 National Poetry Slam champion and a Brenda Moosey Video Slam winner. Lozado-Oliva has also authored several chapbooks: Peluda, Plastic Pájaros, and Rude Girl is Lonely Girl!
“I want everyone to believe in me eventually, but I want it to be you who finds me, plain as day, blooming among the flowers, shining from the hill, taking shape everywhere I shouldn’t, obvious and made of light.”
Elizabeth Acevedo @acevedowrites
Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican-American poet and author from New York City. Her work focuses predominantly on Afro-Latinidad, anti-blackness, feminism, colonialism and spirituality. Acevedo has written a chapbook called Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths, and three novels: The Poet X, Clap When You Land, and With The Fire on High.
“And I can’t trust this world to teach their sons how to treat my daughter. So I will raise her to be a sword, a spear, a shield.”